Zach Bland photo.
The Charleston Battery defeated the Richmond Kickers, 1-0, Saturday night at MUSC Health Stadium to remain atop the USL Eastern Conference standings.
Justin Portillo’s 26th minute penalty was enough for the Battery to earn three points at home for the fifth time this season. Charleston were awarded the penalty after Richmond failed to fully clear an O’Brian Woodbine long throw. Portillo converted from the spot, beating goalkeeper Marcel Debellis to his left twice after the referee blew his first successful attempt dead.
“This was a good win for us,” said Portillo. “After giving up four goals here at home last week, it’s nice to get a shoutout. If you look at what we’ve done in the span of two games, I think it shows how versatile we are. We can beat you in different ways and there’s a lot to be said for that.”
Clear-cut scoring opportunities were limited in the battle between the two rival clubs. While Richmond held the high-flying Battery attack in check for the majority of the match, the Battery defense, backed by Odisnel Cooper, did well to limit the Kickers’ looks at goal and ensure that Portillo’s penalty earned the win. The shutout was the team’s sixth and Cooper’s fourth this season.
“The biggest thing for us tonight is that we earned three points,” said Battery Head Coach Mike Anhaeuser after the match. “We want three points every time we play here at MUSC Health Stadium. I think we were excellent defensively for the majority of the match which sets us up well for the Open Cup midweek. A win like this, where you really have to grind for 90 minutes is great heading into our match against Atlanta United. We’re going enjoy this tonight and turn our attention to Wednesday.”
The Battery’s fourth round Open Cup match with Atlanta United is scheduled to kickoff at 7:30 PM on Wednesday, June 14th. The affiliate clubs will meet at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Georgia. Charleston will remain on the road following the Cup match. The Battery will take on FC Cincinnati on June 17th at Nippert Stadium before returning home to play Toronto FC II on June 24th.
CHARLESTON: Odisnel Cooper, Quinton Griffith, Taylor Mueller (yellow card, 82), Forrest Lasso, O’Brian Woodbine (yellow card, 61), Kotaro Higashi (Dante Marini, 72), Justin Portillo (goal, 26), Neveal Hackshaw, Maikel Chang, Heviel Cordoves (Tah Brian Anunga, 76), Romario Williams
Unused substitutes: Joe Kuzminsky, Skylar Thomas, Ricky Garbanzo, Nico Rittmeyer, Jeffery Otoo
RICHMOND: Marcel Debellis, Braeden Troyer, Alex Lee, Conor Shanosky (yellow card, 12), Mallan Roberts, Patrick McCann, Yudai Imura, Owusu Sekyere (Oliver Minate, 68), Samuel Asante (Sunny Jane, 68), Anthony Grant (Mikey Minutillo, 82)
Unused substitutes: Evan Lee, Finnlay Wyatt, Alex Wimmer, Jackson Eskay